To my fellow editors, proofreaders, and other affiliated professionals in the Indie publishing community:
UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ORIGINAL POST FROM MAY 1 & MAY 2:
This is a difficult post to write, since I am normally not a person who would call out someone for bad behavior. My business model has always been that integrity is key to my success, and that dealing honestly with others will help me grow my client base. I would rather be known for my work and my professionalism than for anything negative.
It was brought to my attention, however, that the situation I'm dealing with needs to be brought to light to protect others in the industry from being taken advantage of the way I have been. Since I do not want anyone else to have to deal with the same pain and frustration, I will be posting this here on my blog and also sharing the post via Facebook and Twitter.
First, and most importantly, I ask you not to harass this person. Please don't heckle her, call her names, or otherwise abuse her. I am not posting this to get revenge on her, but am only posting it to keep others from the stress I've dealt with over the past six months.
The facts of the matter are this:
An author who writes under the pen name of N.L. Hoffmann was referred to me last summer. I did a sample edit for her and spoke with her over the course of several months while she completed her book and got it ready to be edited. I explained my pricing and payment terms. In mid-October, 2015, she sent me the The Monster I've Become (What Hides Beneath Book 1) to be edited. I calculated the cost based on the starting word count of the document, told her the exact price, and she approved the cost. I also stated that the payment would be due within ten days after the manuscript was edited and sent back to her, unless she made prior arrangements. She did not make any payment arrangements at that time.
The manuscript was completed and sent back to her on October 28, with a payment due date of November 7, 2015. She contacted me on November 7, however, stating that she would not be able to pay me until November 25. After the 25th passed without payment, I contacted her and set her up on payment arrangements, where she would be able to pay over time, with the final payment due no later than April 15, 2016.
On Feb 12, 2016, I contacted her as she had not made any payments. She stated that she would be able to start making payments "soon" and would have it paid off before the deadline.
Today is April 28, 2016. To this date, no payment has been made. In addition, when the author finally responded to my messages (on April 25), she stated that she "should" be able to pay it by Wednesday of this week...which was yesterday.
I have sent her numerous emails, invoice reminders, facebook messages, and have attempted to contact her through her facebook author page. I can see that the messages are being viewed, however she declined to respond until after I told her that I would need to file with small claims. I also informed her that I would be sharing her name with others, at which point she finally replied back...but then once again failed to pay.
At this point, she has missed four payment dates, as well as breaking the payment arrangement I set up for her.
The worst part is that she has been selling the book, with my edits, since November 15, 2015. She is making a profit while refusing to pay me. She is marketing the book through her social media accounts and has even spoken of setting up signings (which generally cost money, if only for travel and lodging) but she has not paid her editor.
I'm sure why you can understand my frustration.
I edited a manuscript. I expected to get paid for providing a service. The author agreed to pay me for this work. Today, it has been exactly six months since I returned the edited manuscript back to her, and I haven't received a cent.
Because of this situation, I have had to change my business practice, requiring an up-front deposit for new clients. Once a client has shown that they can pay, I can waive the deposit requirement for future projects, but I hate the fact that I needed to change how I ran my business because of one person.
At this point, I honestly don't expect her to pay me. It would be nice if she did, and if she does I will certainly amend the post, but at this point I'm more concerned about my fellow editors and proofreaders. I hate the hopeless feeling, knowing that I was depending on a payment that never came, and I don't want this to happen to anyone else.. As it is, tomorrow my husband is going in to get his wisdom teeth removed, and we could really use the money. Do I expect to get it?
UPDATE: At 01:14:29 EDT on May 1, 2016, the author paid her invoice.
UPDATE: Conversation on May 2, 2016 via FB messenger: